Greetings from the Haraseeket Inn! We're days away from the summer solstice and those of you who garden know how short the summer season is.The farmers and growers who supply us here at the Harraseeket with their bounty throughout the season are coming in daily with their beautiful produce. Our talented chefs will soon be serving up their wonderful heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, green beans and very soon, sweet corn. This is such an amazing time of year for eating fresh garden produce. If you can't join us here to partake of the feast and don't have a garden yourself, why not visit a farmer's market, take home some wonderful produce and support your local farmers.
Father's Day is Sunday, don't forget dad! Bring him to Lobster Sunday Brunch here at the inn, or treat him to a meal in our Broad Arrow Tavern or Maine Harvest Restaurant. This is a good time to reflect on how our fathers shaped our lives. I was very fortunate to have a great dad. He was a registered Maine Master Guide and a skilled woodsman. He loved the woods and the wild places and introduced us to them at a young age. I wrote a story about him years ago and submitted it in an essay contest. The story was printed in a book called "Maine Voices; A Celebration of the People of Maine and the Places They Love", but my father died before it was published. This is my Father's Day tribute to him.
One whiff of that dark, oily fluid transports me to my early childhood and one of my earliest memories. My father squirts Old Woodsman Fly Dope into my cupped hands. Don't get it in your eyes, my mother cautions. The black flies swarm, undaunted, while my father swings the canvas canoe onto his shoulders and walks ahead. My mother follows, shouldering one of the pack baskets. My brother and I follow behind. It seems like a long carry to Loon Pond but my legs are short and the orange life jacket is heavy. My father retrieves the second pack basket and the rest of our gear and stows it in the canoe. My mother sits in the bow.
He pushes off and they dip their paddles in unison, settling into smooth, rhythmic swings that arc silvery chimes of droplets onto the golden surface with each stroke and move us magically through the water.
My brother knows there are sharks lurking in the murky depths. Man-eaters. Halfway across the pond I rock the canoe side to side just to watch his eyes widen and his hands grip the gunnels.
Stop, my father says around his pipe. I study the approaching shoreline. The woods look dark and forbidding. Bear and moose move through the shadows, and there are Indians, too. Penobscots. I've never seen them, but I know they're there.
The only cabin on Loon Pond is an old hunting camp, bottom logs rotting into the earth, roof thick with moss. No lock on the door, just a journal on the plank table and an old Maine honor system that leaves a camp cleaner and a woodpile higher than when one arrived. While my mother starts supper, my father takes us out again in the canoe. He ties on a muddler minnow, strips off line, casts over a spring hole. The smell of his pipe smoke mingles with the musky smells of cool pond water, warm summer woods, and Old Woodsman Fly Dope.
I scan the shoreline for Indians while my father tells us the names of the mountains that ring this little pond. Burnt Jacket. Sally. Attean. To the west, Number 5 and 6. Beyond them,
Kibby and Tumbledown and Peaked, their timbered shoulders blending together on the horizon, rolling into the rugged distance like cresting waves that never break.
A raven flies over with a strong swish of wings. The sun sets. I pull my socks up over my pant cuffs, press my hands over my ears to shut out the frantic whine of mosquitoes. My father catches a trout, releases it, catches another and then a third. He uses barbless hooks. He lands five good-sized brook trout and a dozen smaller ones, releasing them all. He tells us he is schooling the fish.
A moose ambles into the pond, wades out chest high, sending ripples big enough to rock the canoe. It feeds beneath the water, then raises its streaming head. Twilight now, the moose a dark, shapeless mass, the woods impossibly black. The long haunting wails of a loon make me shiver. A shadow emerges from the lamp lit cabin, walks to the edge of the pond. My mother's gentle voice drifts over the water, calling us to supper.
Two days later we walk back across the portage in drizzle and fog. I return with my father to retrieve the rest of our gear, tagging at his heels and watching for Indians while he tells me that nothing in the woods will ever harm me. Back on Holeb Pond I stare through the fog at the primevil shoreline, then into the water searching for my brother's man-eating sharks, then ahead into the future, which for a young child spans little more than a day.
How very odd that as adults my brother would become a shark in the business world and I would move ever deeper into the woods. The dark mysterious forest that surrounded the pond is gone now, and industrial logging roads lead right to the water's edge. Kibby Mountain's broad, handsome shoulders are studded with monstrous blinking wind turbines, gouged with roads and laced with transmission lines. I don't go back there anymore be
cause little remains of what my father taught me to love, but every time I get a whiff of Old Woodsman Fly Dope, I remember.
Summer is here!
If you haven't made your summer vacation plans yet, think
We'll pamper you, feed you great food and give you the rest and relaxation you deserve. If you want outdoor adventure, we'll point you in the right direction.
And remember, if you book directly with us, either on our web site or over the phone, you'll receive complimentary full buffet breakfast and afternoon tea. We have over 26 room types here at the inn and our front desk staff can customize your stay better than any on-line travel site, most of which only offer you two room types. Just call 1-800-342-6423 and you'll get a real Mainer on the line, not a recording. How nice is that?
Upcoming Events and Special offers
*Congratulations to all 2017 graduates, kindergarten to college. Little steps and big ones; a goal achieved!
L.L.Bean's Outdoor Discovery Schools
are a great way to learn new skills and make lasting memories! Check out the offerings and plan your vacation around some really top notch instruction that will introduce you to a lifetime of outdoor adventures!
*Wolfe's Neck Farm has special programs for the kids, and 'tis the season for baby animals in the barn. This is a truly beautiful salt water farm and a wonderful way to make memories for your children. Take a walk in the adjacent Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park afterward, and enjoy the views of Casco Bay.
*Maine Maritime Museum is located in the ship building town of Bath on the Kennebec River, just a short hop, skip and a jump north of Freeport, and it's well worth the trip. Tour the museum, take a boat ride on the river, see the schooner Mary E, the oldest Maine built schooner still afloat. You can easily spend an entire day here!
*Check out all of our
and plan your getaway soon. Let us pamper you for a day or two or three...the flowers are in bloom!
lists upcoming special events and all the fantastic sales in Freeport Village.
This month you'll have to work for your trivia voucher. My arm has healed enough to take on the challenge of responding to your answers! Many thanks for the kind words during my challenging two-broken-arms travail; winter wasn't my season this year but onwards and upwards! This trivia question involves two of Maine's most iconic foods, our two blue ribbon sellers here at the inn; wild Maine blueberry pie and lobster. Here we go: In what way is the color blue shared between the Maine blueberry and the Maine lobster? (hint; this has nothing to do with the color of a lobster's shell.This trivia will require a little research into lobster biology.) You get one try to answer this correctly. All correct responses win a voucher worth $5. toward food or lodging on your next visit. You may redeem up to 12 vouchers at one time, a $60. value, preferably in the year they were won. One answer per family. Good luck!
We appreciate your patronage and hope to see you soon. Happy Father's Day!
The Gray family
|My parents, Paul and Nancy Gray, sharing a moment from another time